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Golf: Watson places among top 15 at state

by Western News
| October 15, 2009 12:00 AM

Libby’s Zach Watson wrapped up an exceptional high school golf career on Tuesday with a 12th-place finish at the Class A state tournament in Whitefish.

Watson shot a 27-hole total of 127 – which tied him for 12th with three other players.

“Zach, congratulations to him. It was a good way to end his senior year,” Libby High School coach Dann Rohrer said. “I hope he gets a chance to play somewhere in college.”

Watson was striving for a top 10 finish, Rohrer said, but added that a top 15 showing was commendable, especially with such brutal weather conditions.

The tournament was originally scheduled for last week at the Village Greens Golf Course in Kalispell but was moved to the South Course at Whitefish Lake on Monday and Tuesday of this week. After limited playing time on Monday, officials shortened the event to 27 holes.

“The damage they did to that golf course won’t be known until spring,” Rohrer said. “It was a very poor situation. I don’t fault Whitefish; they sacrificed their golf course for the state tournament. This wasn’t fall golf, it’s winter golf.”

Moving Class A golf to the fall season a few years back faced controversy with such poor weather conditions usually the result. Rohrer along with other Libby High School officials have asked the Montana High School Association to consider moving golf back to a spring schedule when the average temperature is 10 to 15 degrees higher.

“This tournament was determined in 27 holes,” Rohrer said. “What’s the difference for state basketball to go three quarters instead of four? It’s very unfair to these kids.”

Watson shot a round of 87 over the first 18 holes and then finished with a 40 over the final nine. Watson’s score over the final nine ranked among the top 10. Whitefish’s Reed Platke won the individual title with a score of 113. The Bulldogs also won the team title.

Louis Cielak also participated at state and finished with a 160. Cielak battled flu symptoms during the tournament.

For the girls, Candace Hendrickson came in with a 178 and Chelsea Oedewaldt finished with a 207.

“Chelsea just continued to work to get better,” Rohrer said about the senior. “She got better and better for the opportunity to work her way into the state tournament and that is a credit to where she started.”

Rohrer added that Hendrickson had a solid round of 116 over the first 18. She finished with a 62 over the final nine.

Billings Central won the team title for the girls with the individual championship going to Katelyn Frank of Sidney with a 116.